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The Joys of Black Garlic! A True Delicacy for the Discerning Palette

Posted by Kevin Vadala / garlicshaker.com on

While black garlic originated in Korea, it is now sweeping across the nation, amazing everyone who tastes it. It is mostly used in gourmet foods cooked in upscale restaurants or seen on gourmet cooking shows (Iron Chef, Food Network, Top Chef New York), but the tasty treat should also have a place in your home. It’s sweet caramelized flavor and qualities will make you forget all of worst things about garlic.

Garlic has a rich history steeped in medicinal lore and often lauded for its health benefits. Many studies have shown its antibacterial effects and anti-fungal properties. Black garlic on the other hand, has also been around awhile and it was even rumored to grant immortality in Taoism mythology. But recently, since the Japanese Government Food Development Centre analyzed black garlic in 2005, black garlic has taken over as a superfood. It contains 17 times higher antioxidants than regular garlic, and also contains the natural compound S-Allycysteine that can help prevent cancer. Since then, Japan has shifted their technology to China, which is the largest producer of black garlic in the world. But that doesn't mean black garlic hasn't migrated to the states. The Korean company Black Garlic also distributes black garlic in the United States and is based in Hayward, California. That means enough black garlic to go around!

Have a look at the demo video of the GarlicShaker - one of the fastest garlic peelers ever made!

Black garlic has a long cooking process that might not be so easy to make at home. Scott Kim, the owner of Black Garlic Company in California has a patent on his black garlic process and his machine. However, the process is similar as it is made by heating  bulbs of fresh peeled garlic cloves over the course of several weeks, letting them cool for a week, and the end result is the black garlic cloves. The garlic cloves come out black because the garlic contains sugars and amino acids that produce Melanoidin- a dark colored substance that makes what would be white black garlic into what we know as black garlic. Many refer to this extended process as fermentation, but no microbial action takes place inside the process. Surprisingly, black garlic doesn't need any additives and mostly relies on the cooking process. Aging black garlic is what creates the extra nutrients because there are additional Polyphenol compound presences. When you look at black garlic you might be disgusted, but nothing about the end product is rotten- just aged.

Black garlic can be used for a variety of things. It has a versatile flavor that contains hints of molasses and balsamic vinegar. The jelly-like consistency is similar to soft dried fruit and when prepared perfectly, it can melt in your mouth. It can be ground up into puree or sauces, and it’s great on  pizza. The soft texture of the garlic molds perfectly with steaming cheese. Or you can slice it up and top of a Bruschetta. You can even slice it up and serve it on a salad!

Black garlic is a relatively new food in terms of modern culinary acceptance. While garlic has been around since the beginning of recorder history, and black garlic might have existed prior; I think a new age is upon us with black garlic production and it is one that looks tasty, healthy, and exotic.

Black garlic is a traditional specialty. Black garlic can be used to make a lot of dishes, including pizzas, pasta, salads, seafood and meats. Making your own black garlic fun way to create a unique flavor.

Making black garlic at home - Cooking Instructions

Chose whole cloves of fresh garlic. Preferably white or red garlic, but if you prefer other types it is fine too. Purple Garlic is very delicious! The important thing is for the head of garlic to be big and round. None of the cloves should be broken up and the entire head should be intact. Making black garlic is easy and does not take a lot of time if you are properly prepared. Start by putting some whole garlic bulbs into a bowl and do not peel any skin off. Ensure your bowl can hold as many bulbs as you wish.

After you have chosen your fresh garlic make sure that none of it is rotting or germinating. If it is, throw it away, or use it for something else, but don’t try to make black garlic with it. It is preferable for the humidity to be 70% if possible.

Wash and clean your garlic. Use fresh (filtered water if possible) to rinse and clean your whole heads of garlic. After washing put them in a cool dry place for a minimum of 6 hours or longer until completely dry. Do not try to start the fermenting process while the garlic is still wet or damp. After confirming they are dry inspect for cleanliness. If the garlic is not clean repeat the cleaning process. Do not use garlic with dirt still on it for making black garlic.

You can also use a slow cooker or a rice cooker to make the black garlic if you prefer. Do not use foil if making black garlic in a ferment box, rice cooker, or slow cooker. You can purchase a black garlic fermenting machine at www.blackgarlic.cn a fermenting box is the best way to make black garlic and the safest.

In a fermenting box set the temperature to 122- 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the fresh garlic in the box. Set the humidity to 60-80% for 10 hours. After the first 10 hours change the settings on the ferment box to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and change the humidity to 90% for 30 hours. After those 30 hours are complete change the setting on the ferment box to 180 Fahrenheit with the humidity to 95% for 200 hours. At the end of 200 hours the black will be complete.

If you do not chose to use a fermenting box then try to follow the same temperature settings with your rice cooker or stove. (Not recommended)

Cooking black garlic

After you have made black garlic, you can cook it in many ways. Just like fresh garlic can be used in many dishes, black garlic can be used to make pizza toppings, puree, legume rice dishes and any legume based dishes. The black garlic ca also be an accompaniment with the cheese, chilies, smoked meat, sausages, grilled fish and much more.

Health benefits

Black garlic doesn’t lose its health benefits. This is because the garlic contains more antioxidants, and also has S-Allycysteine. This is a compound that is said to be effective when it comes to prevention of cancer. Black garlic gets better as it ages since it gets sweeter. You can also store the black garlic for a long period of time, for up to 3 months, by just placing it in a jar and refrigerating it. 

To enjoy delicious black garlic try this garlic peeling trick!

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